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Day 15

What I already miss

  • Having the option to say yes or no to invitations

  • The freedom to make my own appointments

  • Bananas. Ever since Panelo said it could cure COVID-19, bananas have been sold out everywhere.

  • Certainty created by a calendar full of trips, fieldwork, campaigns, and dinners

  • The excitement that certainty brings: knowing I’ll see colleagues in this event, knowing I’ll listen to a speaker I admire at this conference, knowing I’ll order the same dish in my favorite restaurant (the same one I’ve been ordering for 15 years) when I meet up with a friend there

  • Commitments of funders and thinking we would reach our fundraising target by mid-year

What I don’t miss

  • Estimating how much time I need to get somewhere based on traffic

  • The smog that coats the skyline

  • Packing and unpacking

  • Not having “enough time”

  • Meetings that really could have been an email

What I won’t miss

  • Physical distancing from people who matter to me

  • Isolation as a mandate

  • The volley of toxicity on social media: we criticize too much, we don’t criticize enough, we need to be productive, no we don’t need to be productive, we should stay optimistic, how dare you there’s nothing to be optimistic about

  • The daily set of questions that crowd my mind: how many new cases, how many deaths, how many recoveries, any new rules our government has announced, how’s Bryan, how’s my lola?

  • The constellation of feelings we navigate individually and collectively: fear, anxiety, frustration, adrenaline, guilt, sadness, amusement at all the memes and internet gold, and hope (sometimes, sometimes even hope)

Sunrise in Mandaluyong City

What I won’t forget

  • The opportunity to reconnect with loved ones through Zoom, Whatsapp, or House Party. My kuya calls me every two or three days, holding my niece. Anya, Jamie, Nica, and I have a virtual group workout every Friday. Lynn, Chely, Bianca, and I have a weekly check-in call during the weekend. Ding and I Facetime-d for the first time in years. I’ve always taken pride in being the “friend who keeps in touch with everyone,” but now I value these relationships more than ever.

  • The generosity of people, reminding me that we can deserve “kind” in the word “humankind.”

  • The incompetence of some government officials and how we need to work HARD on not getting them re-elected.

  • The expansion of empathy - for our own grief and losses, and for other people’s.

  • Love, compassion, empathy don’t need to be rationed; they are renewable resources.


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